Will You be Scrambling for Work With A Computer Science Degree?

Eight of the ten projected fastest growing jobs from 2000 to 2010 were computer-related jobs. However, this boom in information technology flooded the market with IT workers. This, coupled with the slow down of the market, led to graduates with computer degrees scrambling for work. The result? A drop-off in enrollment at universities nation wide for computer science degrees. In fact, as early as 2002, undergraduate enrollment in the department of computer science at Virginia Tech was down by 25%. From these realities, predictions were made that by 2007 there would be a shortage of new graduates with computer-related degrees. Were they right?

The answer is yes. According to dice.com [icon class=’fa-external-link’], the career hub for tech, as of May 2011 Boston area IT job openings are up 19%. The Boston Business Journal suggests this indicates a shortage of talent coming out of colleges and universities. Although, Massachusetts is only ranked 5th on the list of Top 10 ‘shortage states’ for tech jobs in a report by Dice entitled “America’s Tech Talent Crunch.” The number one state for tech shortage employees is California, followed by New Jersey, Texas, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, Connecticut, Virginia, and 10th is Washington D.C. Shortages like these mean a bright future for tech employees; however, it is imperative to remain smart and informed because new technologies are continually reshaping the technology sector. To avoid being left behind, it is best to keep abreast of changing technologies and engage in continuing education to keep your skills up-to-date. In TechRepublic, Jason Hiner stated that “Most IT departments are a shadow of their former selves.” Hiner predicts that most of IT jobs will move into development, programming, and coding. He also sees a trend toward outsourcing traditional IT administration functions to third party consultants, and IT workers not in development, programming, and coding transitioning to project managers. How accurate is Hiner’s assessment?

It seems there are others who agree. Research at Stanford University led by William Miller confirms that software is now the driving technology in the computer industry. The Stanford paper reports that “from the evolution of the UNIX and Windows platforms, we have seen that applications and markets are defined by software, rather than by the hardware in place, as had been the case with earlier platforms… Moreover, we have been told in our interviews that as much as 70% of the cost of developing a new hardware system is actually spent on software development. Our research also confirms that 80% of the lifetime cost of purchasing and upgrading a computer system is actually spent on software purchase, license, development and maintenance.” Four career picks in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Careers of 2011 list are computer-related jobs. First, computer software engineer employment is expected to grow by 32%, adding 295,200 jobs between 2008 and 2011 according to the Bureau of labor statistics. These jobs will require a bachelor degree in computer science or a related field and more complex jobs will require a master’s. The important thing is knowledge of programming languages. Another career pick is computer support specialist. It is expected to increase employment by 14% or 78,000 jobs. Most employers will require an associate or bachelor degree. Also picked is computer systems analyst. The expected growth is 20% or 108,000 jobs. Most employers will require a bachelor degree in a relevant field such as computer science, information science, or engineering. A final pick is network architect. This field is expected to grow 53.4%, adding 155,800 jobs. This job usually requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, or management of information systems.